"I have a son," Erik says from the rubble. He truly is the master of dramatic entrances.
Hank does not know what to make of this situation. In the last ten years he'd dealt with Charles being drunk, Charles being stoned, Charles being depressed. But Erik? How was he expected to reassure a megalomaniac that he would be okay, that parenting really wasn't so bad.
"C'mon, let's get you inside," he said. Erik allowed himself to be helped out of the small crater he'd made in the side of the house, and that's when Hank knew something was up.
"Can we go see Charles?" Erik asks, slurring his words a little, and Hank thinks, yes, definitely a concussion.
"Sure Magneto, of course we can," he says, soothingly as he can. He's not really sure whether to say 'Erik' or 'Magneto', but he goes with the latter, because it's not worth getting killed over if Erik decides to get in one of his darker moods.
"That's it," he says reassuringly, draping Erik's limp arm over his shoulder. "I have you now."
The murdering, professor-crippling lunatic weighs less than Hank thought he would, or maybe it's just that Hank is just pretty strong these days. It's not too far to Charles' room either, and Erik thankfully doesn't make small talk.
"Erik? Hank, oh god, what's happened?" Charles says as Hank unceremoniously dumps Erik into an armchair in Charles' room.
"This idiot decided to get wasted and then levitate over here. He was coming to see Pietro," Hank explains. The adage, 'never drink and drive', or in this case, 'fly,' has never been more appropriate.
"He crashed into the side of the house. I had to dig him out. The idiot is lucky I was coming back from the lab, or we'd never have found him, seeing as he has that stupid helmet on."
"You're my hero," Erik says, his voice dripping with sarcasm. That's more like the Erik he knows and hates.
"Thank you Hank. Would you run down and get Alex? We may need more help."
Hank is just about to say, nah Charles, I can carry him, when he hears Charles' voice in his head. Alex wouldn't want to miss out. How often do you get to see your arch-nemesis sprawled out, intoxicated and concussed?
The Professor has a point. "I'll go do that then," Hank says, and leaves them to it. He jogs as he goes though. He doesn't want to miss any more of this than he has to.
"Hey man, what did I say about bursting into my room, I could have a girl in here or anything," Alex is saying angrily as Hank pulls him out of bed.
"As if," Hank shoots back. "C'mon, hurry, Magneto is drunk and concussed upstairs."
One look at Hank's face and Alex nods. You could feasibly make this shit up, but you couldn't make the expression Hank is making right now without damn good reason.
He's pissed that Erik thinks he can just barge in here, anxious to get back and see what happens, worried that Charles will be a pushover and just hand Pietro over to the Brotherhood, but also he's grinning because this is priceless. Alex pulls on a t-shirt and they half-run back up the stairs.
When they enter Charles' room, nothing has changed except Erik is struggling under a blanket that Charles has evidently draped over him.
"I do not need a blanket Charles, I'm perfectly fine," he's saying, though no-one seems to be listening.
"Hey dickhead," Alex says, walking over to where Erik is sitting and casually whacking the helmet so that there's a loud, dull thud, "We didn't miss you."
"Alex!" Charles scolds, but it's done the trick and Erik pulls off the helmet.
"Maybe I do have a concussion," he says woozily.
"You might now," Charles says, glaring at Alex, who is holding his hands up in the universal 'dude-he-crippled-you-I'm-allowed-hit-him-once' gesture.
"Can someone get my son?" Erik says then, looking around wildly, like Pietro is going to pop out for behind a curtain or something, which is actually a distinct possibility and has happened on occasion.
"Not when you're in this state Erik, no, but maybe in the morning if you're still here."
There's ice in Charles' tone, well-deserved but a touch hypocritical too; Charles did spend a decade drunk after all.
Erik glares at him and then puts his head in his hands. "I can't believe I have a son," he mumbles between fingers.
"Are you sure?" Alex asks. "Cause, like, you never know. She may just have known a man who could move metal, but not you? Or 'known' mightn't mean 'slept with'?"
Charles looks at Alex as if to say don't get his hopes up, but Erik mumbles from behind his hands, "I went to see his mother. There isn't an element of doubt."
Alex surreptitiously hands five bucks to Hank. They'd made a bet on the way upstairs whether or not Erik would have the balls to find out was he the baby-daddy or not.
"I'm a terrible father!" Erik says, standing up, and then clearly thinking the better of it and sitting down again. "I've got to go and get Pietro like ten, eleven years worth of presents." He stops and peers around suspiciously. "What age is the kid anyway?"
"Closer to eighteen?" Hank says cautiously, afraid this will be an unacceptable answer.
Erik looks up at him, his eyes fixating on Hank like the gospel itself was etched on his blue forehead. "Really? Eighteen? That's great, I can drink with him in Europe now, we can bond".
"Perhaps we might refrain from drinking for a little while," Charles suggests, a smile in his tone.
"Perhaps," Erik says, a little sadly. "I've got to, sober up, and like, assume my responsibility-" and then his face was changing and he was ineffectively jabbing a finger at Charles. "You! Why is my son at your school?"
"Because he's a mutant Erik, come on, you know this."
"But why do you get to raise him? He's mine. I'm taking him to the Brotherhood right now before you brainwash him into your idealistic peaceful ways."
Hank started laughing, and Alex had a fist shoved in his mouth to stop the giggles coming out. Only Charles it seemed, had the patience to reason with Erik when he was like this.
"Erik, does your-," and then he pauses. He'd probably been going for terrorist organisation but had evidently caught himself last minute. "Does the Brotherhood actually teach its members anything?"
"Yes…" Erik says, looking around, probably for inspiration. "We do very important things Charles. Really, really important stuff."
"Top-secret?" Alex says with a smile.
"Yes!" Erik says, latching onto that. "Yes, I'm terribly afraid that I can't tell you, but it is just so secret. But I can tell Peter, 'cause he's my son and I should trust him."
Erik was wavering again, and Hank quickly tried to think of something to say, but he wasn't fast enough. "I'm not ready to have kids," Erik mutters.
"I know. I have about fifty under my care. It's difficult," Charles says sympathetically.
"You never said you had fifty children!" Erik says, his eyes wild.
"Students, Erik, I have fifty students, I don't actually have any children-"
Erik seems to consider this for a moment. "It's probably best. Fifty is a lot. It's a very big number. One child is probably enough between the two of us, isn't it?"
Hank can't help himself, and he breaks down laughing. Alex is in a similar state.
Erik suddenly grabs his helmet and pulls it on, and then starts rhythmically pounding his head against the table. The helmet makes a dull thud each time. It is hypnotic.
"Erik, stop that, you'll give yourself another concussion," Charles says.
"Why don't you ever call me Magneto, it's so rude."
"Fine Magneto, could you take off the helmet?"
"What, you want my son and my helmet? You're so greedy Charles."
Hank can't breathe. Who knew that under Erik's many layers of egotism and homicidal tendencies that there was a comic genius, just needing a head trauma and copious amounts of alcohol to come out?
"Right. Let's just put Erik to bed, shall we?" Charles suggests after a moment.
"I'm not tired, damn you Charles."
Hank and Alex exchange a look and a shrug respectively, and then they go to each side of Erik's chair and pull him up. "The bed's just over there, I am perfectly capable-" Erik grumbles, but they ignore him.
"Uhhh, Professor, where are you going to sleep?" Alex asks after they tip Erik into the bed.
"I'll figure something out," Charles says. "Goodnight boys."
They leave, taking the hint.
"That was crazy!" Alex says as they make their way downstairs.
"I know. How much do you wanna bet he doesn't stick around till breakfast to see Pietro?" Hank asks.
"Another five bucks?"
"Deal," and they shake on it.
Hank can't wait until tomorrow morning.